The Arizona Desert Lamp

Aaron Elyachar: ‘An uninformed candidate and voter’

Posted in Campus, Politics by Connor Mendenhall on 19 February 2009

Usually, student government officials wait until they’re elected to start welshing on their platforms. Not so for Senate candidate Aaron Elyachar, who may be the first ASUA hopeful in history to break his campaign promises before the primary elections.

Mr. Elyachar signed our pledge a mere half hour after we sent it out to candidates. Yesterday, he sent an email asking us to remove his name (we did). Today, he’s defaulting for good, with a letter to the editor in the Daily Wildcat. Here’s the whole thing:

In regards to the opinion by Evan Lisull and Connor Mendenhall (“Candidates: Just say no to new fees,” Feb. 17, 2009), I would like to speak on behalf of an uninformed candidate and voter. First off, these two individuals are currently running an online blog called The basis of their stories has to do with ASUA and what is going on within the organization.

I am running for ASUA Senate. These two individuals pretty much demanded all of the candidates in an e-mail to sign the no new fees initiative. The no new fees initiative is telling candidates that if elected to ASUA Senate in March, they would promise to disapprove of any fee brought up. Being very quick to my decision, I signed it to make the deadline. They had forced it onto me, and after looking deeper into what they were saying, I disapprove of their ideas about the new fees.

The reason why I write this letter is because a few students who read the blog and did not like the fact that I signed it, approached me. I would like you guys to take my name off of the list and to be more rational when asking people to sign on contracts.

I support the campus fees, which are feasible and will do well for the student body. At the same time, however, if these fees are very expensive for the student body, and or do not support the students well enough, I do not support it because it is adding up to what students already pay to come here. For example, when mentioned the “30 component of the Information Technology/Library fee to rise $180 per student per semester.” I was in shock about it. I do think there should a fee increase on this but not six times the current amount. It should be something that students can pay for and still have money on the side.

Why say no when they are important? We should not and I do not think that the editors need to force anything on the candidates, but politely ask them. Candidates, do your research before you sign onto something.

Aaron Elyachar

political science freshman

If you’d like to see the letter we “forced” on this year’s candidates, take a gander here. I hoped we wouldn’t have to launch the Hall of Shame this early in the election, but Mr. Elyachar is truly exceptional–and merits his spot as the first entry on our list of candidates who have reneged on their promise to oppose student fees. 

Candidates: all the information you need is there. The pledge is one sentence long. But if you still need help with it, don’t hesitate to contact us–just do it before you sign and commit to protecting your constituents from fees.


15 Responses

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  1. Dave said, on 19 February 2009 at 10:07 am

    You bullies!

  2. J said, on 19 February 2009 at 10:49 am

    Aaron is too funny. The letter is in no way forceful! We need senators who read before they sign–it’s kind of like doing your job.

  3. […] Senate candidate Sarah Bratt, the third [UPDATE: second –ECM] ASUA hopeful to stand with students and sign our Fee Protection Pledge. We send our […]

  4. Ben Kalafut said, on 19 February 2009 at 11:32 am

    Candidate Elyachar has much to learn about electoral politics, even the petty, beauty-contest sort that ASUA elections are. Rule number 1: Don’t do anything that could allow you to be cast as a whiner or a sissy.

    Oh, but maybe you guys “forced” him to be a waffler, too!

    Not to get too far off topic, but this would be a poorly written LTE if done by a junior or senior high-school student, yet Elyachar is at the University. Perhaps that’s demonstration of qualifications. “See, I don’t have much time for those books. Too busy partying and socializing!”

  5. Alla said, on 19 February 2009 at 12:39 pm

    you can has traffic!! .. and more dailywildcat shutouts..

    good job Connor and Evan 🙂

  6. Jimi Alexander said, on 19 February 2009 at 12:44 pm

    OK, as someone who knows Candidate Elyachar on a personal basis, let me just say that yes, he goofed in signing something a little too quickly, but there’s no excuse for posters like Ben to make character attacks by saying he’s “partying and socializing”. Aaron’s on more school councils than I can count, is a member of Pep and Jazz Bands, has a 16-unit class schedule (with one of those units being a six hour/week music lab of sorts) and is doing this Senate campaign. I don’t think he’d have a whole lot of time to proofread the letter, and I will admit that it may have been misdirected.

    I understand that you guys are anxious to skewer somebody so people will pay attention to this blog. Still, it’s better that he clears his name from your roll /now/ rather than after he is elected. He’s not violating any rule. He’s saying he messed up, pledged himself to a stringent statement that could hamstring his ability to effectively represent the student body that he can’t in his right conscience adhere to, and he is trying to make it right. To accuse him of “welshing on his platform” is out of line.

  7. Ben Kalafut said, on 19 February 2009 at 3:18 pm

    There’s more than a proofreading problem. “I would like to speak on behalf of an uninformed candidate and voter” makes it sound like Elyachar isn’t speaking for himself. “First off” doesn’t make any sense here, and why would anyone write “these two individuals are currently running an online blog called The basis of their stories has to do with ASUA and what is going on within the organization” when he could instead write “Lisull and Medenhall run a ‘blog called, concerning in part goings-on within ASUA” or something the same. It’s as though he’s has a bad case of whatever the trouble is with people who say “on a daily basis” when they mean “daily”.

    Maybe Elyachar is a good albeit poorly prepared student. We see many of those at the U of A. When I teach I make a point of not penalizing students for their poor preparation but instead helping them come up to speed so they can meet my standards.

    But this isn’t class; Elyachar is seeking a position of responsibility with some power–at least power to nickel-and-dime his fellows–attached to it. He’s sending all sorts of signals that he’s in over his head. Campaign communications should always look “professional”, polished and serious, sending a letter directed at Lisull and Medenhall to the Wildcat is a sign of terrible confusion, and more importantly still, being so quick to cast himself as a victim casts his ability to lead into doubt.

  8. Connor Mendenhall said, on 19 February 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Hi everyone,

    To be fair, Aaron communicated with us in private before he sent a letter to the Wildcat. And to be clear, I’m not anxious to skewer. Far from it: I’d really prefer not to have to do the icepicking necessary to make a pledge like this work. Unfortunately, although it’s best to be both feared and loved, we’ve known which is better since way before Big Mac wrote it down. I agree that breaking the pledge during the election is preferable to breaking it by actually passing a fee, and I respect that “he messed up, pledged himself to a stringent statement” and decided to follow his conscience. But as you say, he “pledged himself” and broke that pledge. That’s the only criterion for a spot in the Hall of Shame.

  9. Down with OPP (Yeah you know me!) said, on 19 February 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Okay, so i gotta say that Aaron is someone who maximizes what abilities he has. Despite what you and I may deem an insufficient capacity to conduct himself within the means of what we may feel should be a senatorial standard, Aaron is working his ass off. I know him personally and despite what others may think of him and my own personal opinion that he may be unprepared for office, I also know that if you guys knew Aaron personally you would feel like a dick for saying some things like what I’m seeing above. I don’t want to act like Aaron can’t defend himself, or that he cannot receive criticism, as he should receive the proper scrutiny before possibly taking the job, but y’all seem real caught up in sounding smart and putting down others.

  10. Nick Jones said, on 20 February 2009 at 12:13 am

    I just feel, as someone who signed the pledge, people should take responsibility for themselves rather than victimizing themselves and publicly fudging the truth by saying they were forced. I mean this was no more forced on us, the candidates, than the petition forms were forced onto the students who made it possible for us to run.

  11. Jon said, on 20 February 2009 at 8:24 am

    I feel as though our student government recently with a few exceptions has been anything but competent. Out of our current senate at most 3 of 10 have any idea what their jobs actually entail. 30% is not a number we should once again strive for but instead a bad memory we should forget. Electing someone like Aaron Elyachar (Who I know personally) would be a step backwards and not forwards.

  12. […] addition to the Hall of Shame is Sarah Bratt, who, seemingly cowed by Mr. Elyachar’s exhortation in yesterday’s paper, has removed her name from the pledge that she priorly […]

  13. Amanda said, on 20 February 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Mr. Jones,

    You signed a pledge promising not to pass anymore student fees? Do you recall stating in your platform that you plan to “expand SafeRide or create an auxiliary program to offer students a safe alternative to drunk driving.”

    What I don’t think you realize is that in order to expand Safe Ride or create another program…you HAVE TO INCREASE student fees!!! Safe Ride expansion/new program creation = the need for MORE MONEY! and LOTS of it. Any attempt to make good on your pledge will ultimately mean backing down on one of your other campaign promises.

    I won’t go into the biggest problem with this part of your platform: you know nothing about how ASUA is run (basically, senators have no jurisdiction over already well-established programs within ASUA that are under the jurisdiction of the AVP, like Safe Ride AND sustainability, another part of your platform).

    AND there already IS an anti-drunk driving program (Cats RIDDE). However, extensive insurance and liability issues have prevented it from being fully operational for almost four years. Since Cats RIDDE is a program under the AVP, the power to fix ties problems lies with the AVP, not with the Senate.

    I just feel that someone who signed such a pledge AND is a candidate for an ASUA elected office should take the responsibility for themselves to extensively research the organization that he is trying to become a part of in order to know what he can and cannot do as a senator.

  14. Garrett P. O'Hara said, on 21 February 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Wait, so this guy’s trying to defend yourself against fair criticism by pointing people to your URL via the Wildcat?

    No fair! No ASUA candidate ever got me such awesome publicity and advertising! Heck, I got a mentioned twice in the Daily Star and once in the Eugene Register-Guard and never got my URL in the Wildcat!

    Once again, you guys rock.

  15. […] behavior” towards various administrative and governmental forces – never mind the “distress” that our Fee Protection Pledge brought to several ASUA candidates – we’re […]

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